Interbike Open to the General Public – with a catch

Interbike

I remember my very first time at Interbike like it was yesterday (even though it was over a decade ago). I had a big, stupid grin on my face as I walked into the convention center hallway at the Sand’s in Las Vegas. It was the total “kid-in-a-candy-store” type grin. Complete and utter sensory overload. Bikes, bike parts, bike accessories, bike clothes… all the latest and greatest bike candy I could soak in and more.

I remember feeling privileged to be able to attend this “Industry Only” event.

Now you can have that same feeling, too.

Interbike and the company that runs it (Nielsen Business Media) has just announced that they are opening the show doors to the general public, with a catch: You have to have your local bike shop invite you along.

The program is called “Interbike by Invitation” and will allow the shop guest to peruse the goods on Friday September 20th (the last day of the show). To accomodate the expected increase in Friday attendance, the show has been extended until 6pm (from the old 4pm time). Show hours may be extended on Wednesday and Thursday to increase dealer/manufacturer meeting times. Besides retail bike shops getting guest passes, exhibitors will also receive a certain number of passes based on the size of their booths.

“The mystique of Interbike from a consumer perspective has been, and still is, very strong,” said Pat Hus, Managing Director for Interbike. “We believe we’ve found the proper way to include the consumer, by showcasing the industry through retailers who attend Interbike. Interbike by Invitation is not designed to open the flood gates to consumers seeking stickers and SWAG – but rather as an opportunity for retailers to invite their best consumers with the goal of leaving the show with the invitee feeling closer to both the retailer and the brands they love. If we’re successful with the model we’ve outlined we will have created a bonding exercise for retailers and suppliers like our industry has never seen before. Ultimately it will be measurable as demand for 2014 product is driven into the retailers.”


How do manufacturers feel about this change? David Zimberoff, Global Marketing Director at SRAM says, “SRAM is very excited about the addition of a consumer component for Interbike. We’ll be developing consumer specific promotions to welcome and engage them that does not compete with any retailer activity. We’ll be focused on pushing consumers to retail so it should be a win-win for everyone.”

Reaction from retailers is mixed, with a few feeling that it won’t really change all that much. We talked to Charles Jalgunas, owner of the popular Passion Trail Bikes (Belmont, Ca) who had this to say, “Its felt like a consumer show for years. With a combination of passes given by retailers to “friends of the shop” and access to event promoters, media, and workers in related industries, its hard to find a cycling enthusiast that hasn’t been to Interbike at some point. Interbike’s decision to legitimize, or even support consumer attendance will be good for this show, and for building enthusiasm amongst our customers. It might even make it easier for all of us to focus more on work the first two days.”

Registration for Interbike by Invitation guests opens in April 2013 and will cost $50 (which includes special access and a host of other benefits planned for the event.) The specific details of the Interbike by Invitation program have not been completely set in stone yet, so stay tuned as more information becomes available.

Also, new for 2013, Interbike switches from the Sand’s Convention Center (its home for many years) to the Mandalay Bay Resort, Hotel and Casino.

Interbike Highlights:
what: the largest bicycle industry trade show in North America
where: Bootleg Canyon (Sep. 16-17) and Mandalay Bay (Sep. 18-20)
when: September 16-20, 2013
why: to see all the latest and greatest 2014 bikes, parts and accessories and to have a great time!

About Interbike
The Interbike International Bicycle Expo and OutDoor Demo are the bicycle industry’s leading business-to-business events bringing together top manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of cycling. Interbike is a business unit of Nielsen Expositions [a division of The Nielsen Company (Nielsen: NYSE: NIEL)], the parent company of the Outdoor Retailer (OR) and Health+Fitness Business expos. Nielsen Expositions is a full-service trade show company that creates market events and produces high quality expos and educational conferences. Interbike (www.interbike.com) gathers more than 1,200 cycling-related brands and more than 25,000 total attendees annually.

To read and review Mtbr’s coverage of this year’s Interbike, go here: http://reviews.mtbr.com/category/interbike

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato has been the Site Manager of Mtbr.com for over 12 years and enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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